Sunday, March 23, 2014

2014 Vancouver Summer Law Program and Global Tort Litigation Course

I'm serving as Co-Director of Southwestern Law School's 2014 Vancouver Summer Law Program, which is offered in collaboration with the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law and the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy.  All classes will take place at the University of British Columbia's new Allard Hall, which was completed in 2011 at a cost of $56 million.  On-campus housing at St. Andrew's Hall next to the law school may also be arranged through the summer law program.  The program will run from May 25 to June 25, 2014.  Here is the brochure.  

One of the courses offered will be a course on Global Tort Litigation, which I'll be co-teaching with Professor Jasminka Kalajdzic of the University of Windsor.   Other courses include comparative criminal procedure, international environmental law, and comparative sexual orientation law; students may elect to take two courses for four units, or three courses for six units.  

We welcome applications from students in good standing at an ABA-approved or state-accredited American law school or accredited Canadian law school.  Special reduced tuition rates are available for Canadian law students.  Come join us in beautiful Vancouver, Canada!

BGS

March 23, 2014 in Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Environmental Torts, Foreign, Procedure, Products Liability, Punitive Damages, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why the GM Litigation May Not Be Your Usual Products Case

Hilary Stout of the New York Times reports in a piece today called "Lawyers Prepare for GM Suits with Novel Strategies."    The issue may be not just products liability, but fraud in the working out of the GM Bankruptcy.

ADL

March 12, 2014 in Products Liability, Vehicles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Possible Toyota Mass Settlement in Unintended Acceleration Cases

Article in the Los Angeles Times:  Toyota looks to settle sudden-acceleration lawsuits, by Ken Bensinger.  I'm quoted in the article.

BGS

December 15, 2013 in Products Liability, Settlement, Travel, Vehicles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ongoing Asbestos Cleanup in Libby, Montana

The Wall Street Journal has an article on the ongoing asbestos cleanup by W.R. Grace in Libby, Montana:  In Montana Town, a Shut Mine Leaves an Open Wound, by Dionne Searcey.  The Journali also has a related slideshow.  The cost of the cleanup has so far been approximately $400 million.

BGS  

November 26, 2013 in Asbestos, Environmental Torts, Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Johnson & Johnson announces settlement of hip implant litigation

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to terms for settling hip implant claims, according to multiple news reports. The New York Times article reports that under the agreement, J&J "will pay some $2.475 billion in compensation to an estimated 8,000 patients who have been forced to have the all-metal artificial hip removed and replaced with another device." The article states that a typical claimant settlement, before legal fees, would be about $250,000 plus all medical costs. The article also states that the deal requires the participation of 94 percent of eligible claimants.

The lawsuits addressed by this settlement involve the Articular Surface Replacement, or A.S.R., a product of the DePuy Orthopaedics division of J&J. A couple of news sources reported a settlement of this litigation six days ago but without confirmation from defendants or plaintiffs. Today's reports come on the heels of a hearing in the multidistrict litigation (MDL 2197) before Judge David Katz in the Northern District of Ohio. 

HME

Update:  For DePuy's and J&J's press release about the settlement program, see here and here. For the settlement website, see here. For an overview of the settlement terms, including settlement eligibility, settlement amounts, and deadlines, see here.

November 19, 2013 in Medical Devices - Misc., Products Liability, Settlement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Johnson & Johnson DePuy hip implant settlement reported

The New York Times and Bloomberg are reporting that Johnson & Johnson has agreed to settlement terms to resolve thousands of DePuy metal hip implant claims. According to the Bloomberg article, J&J Said to Reach $4 Billion Deal to Settle Hip Lawsuits, and the New York Times article, Johnson & Johnson Said to Agree to $4 Billion Settlement Over Hip Implants, the deal would provide about $300,000 to $350,000 in compensation for each claimant who underwent surgery to replace the DePuy hip implant, which could be as many as 8000 cases. The amount for each claimant would depend on age, medical condition, and other factors. According to the articles, the settlement has not been formally announced.

The Depuy hip implant cases are pending in Multidistrict Litigation (MDL 2197) before Judge David Katz in the Northern District of Ohio, as well as in state courts in Ohio, California, and New Jersey. Two cases have gone to trial, with one plaintiff victory and one for the defense. Seven more trials are scheduled. This would be the largest settlement ever for medical device litigation, and one of the largest mass tort settlements.

HME

Update:  See here for Nov. 19 info.

November 13, 2013 in Medical Devices - Misc., Products Liability, Settlement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Toyota Settlement in Unintended Acceleration Case Following $3 Million Compensatory Damages Verdict

According to the New York Times, the jury had also determined that Toyota had acted with "reckless disregard" and was about to begin deliberations on punitive damages when the settlement was announced.  The New York Times article also appropriately emphasizes that the case is noteworthy because plaintiffs' tried their claims of electronic throttle control problems.  

Though the New York Times article notes the ages of the plaintiff driver was 82 (the Los Angeles Times says she was 76), the New York Times article does not note that there have been in the past been particular concerns of pedal misapplication by older drivers, and the article does not reference a government report that found no problems in Toyota's electronic throttle control system.  According to CNNMoney, Toyota apparently argued that the plaintiff in Oklahoma case hit the gas, rather than the brake.  In response, plaintiffs pointed to long skid marks on the road, suggesting the driver was hitting the brake.  One wonders if the event data recorder in this car might have shed more light on the issue.  Toyota would certainly want to avoid having juries deciding unintended acceleration cases based on the believability of the testimony of a driver who claims to have hit the brake, rather than the accelerator.  If Toyota is unable to exclude plaintiffs' proferred expert testimony of electronic throttle control defect on the grounds that such testimony is not scientifically reliable, then Toyota should also be concerned that the jury may be unable to grasp the arcane details of software code design.  I'm reminded of the line by Robert Duvall's character in the film, A Civil Action, depicting the Woburn water contamination case; waiting for a jury decision, his character opines, "[I]t's not going to have anything to do with dates or groundwater measurements or any of that crap, which nobody can understand anyway.  It's going to come down to people like it always does."

BGS

October 25, 2013 in Products Liability, Vehicles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Moldy Washers Redux: Petition for Cert

Defendants in the moldy washers cases have filed cert petitions once again after the 6th and 7th Circuits reinstated those liability only (or issue) class actions.  You can find the briefs here and here

It doesn't make sense for the Supreme Court to grant cert, but stranger things have happened. 

Why don't I think the Court should grant cert?  Commonality is clear, there aren't real damages issues because its an issue class action and the circuits are coming together on the question of issue class actions and their parameters (coalescing around the ALI proposals and the Manual on Complex Litigation) and these are squarely in the field where class actions are most useful - consumer claims.  In other words, there's nothing adventuresome here for the Court to consider.  

For more defense side links with a different point of view see the Volokh Conspiracy

ADL

 

 

October 11, 2013 in Class Actions, Procedure, Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wall Street Journal Editorial on Innovator Liability in Alabama

The Wall Street Journal editorial, Innovator Liability, Take Two, discusses the Alabama Supreme Court's reconsideration this week of innovator liability.

BGS

September 5, 2013 in Pharmaceuticals - Misc., Preemption, Products Liability, Regulation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Alabama Supreme Court to Reconsider Innovator Liability

Legalnewsline reports in Ala. SC to hear oral arguments in case over ‘innovator liability’ next week, by Jessica Karmasek.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform has more discussion of the issues.

BGS

September 4, 2013 in Pharmaceuticals - Misc., Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Supreme Court Petition in Engle Progeny Case

Am Law Litigation Daily has an article on the tobacco companies' filing another certiorari petition in an Engle progeny case: Tobacco Companies Seek Supreme Court Cert in Engle Case, by Ross Todd.  Here's their petition for a writ of certiorari.  The appellate team includes Greg Katsas (Jones Day), Paul Clement (Bancroft), and Miguel Estrada (Gibson Dunn).

I've previously addressed issue preclusion, verdict variability, and problems with the Engle case in my article, Jackpot Justice: Verdict Variability and the Mass Tort Class Action, 80 Temp. L. Rev. 1013 (2007).

BGS

August 19, 2013 in Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Class Actions, Procedure, Products Liability, Tobacco | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Khoury, Menard & Redko on the Role of Canadian Private Law in the Control of Risks Associated with Tobacco Smoking

Professors Lara Khoury and Marie-Eve Couture-Ménard (McGill), and Olga Redko (LL.B./B.C.L. Candidate, McGill) have posted to SSRN their article, The Role of Private Law in the Control of Risks Associated with Tobacco Smoking: The Canadian Experience, 39 Am. J. L., Med. & Ethics 442 (2013).  Here's the abstract:

Can private law litigation serve as a tool for advancing public health objectives? With this contentious and oft-asked question in mind, this text tackles Canada’s recent tobacco litigation. This Article first presents critical commentary regarding various lawsuits waged against Canadian cigarette manufacturers by citizens acting as individuals or as parties to class action lawsuits. We then turn to analyze how Canada’s provincial governments rely on targeted legislation to facilitate private law recourses for recouping the healthcare costs of treating tobacco-related diseases. The authors address challenges to the constitutionality of this type of legislation, as well as attempts by manufacturers to transfer responsibility to the federal government.

BGS

July 21, 2013 in Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Class Actions, Mass Tort Scholarship, Procedure, Products Liability, Tobacco | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

SCOTUS Oral Argument in Mutual Pharm. Co. v. Bartlett: Generic Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Potential Immunity from Suit

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hiroko Tanaka Photo Essay on Effects of Agent Orange on Vietnamese Children

CNN.com has a photo essay by Hiroko Tanaka showing deformed Vietnamese children whose conditions may stem from Agent Orange herbicide sprayed by the United States during the Vietnamese War.  The story accompanying the photos discusses the difficulties in tracing causation.  For more on the diseases potentially caused by Agent Orange, see the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs' webpage on Veterans' Diseases Associated with Agent Orange.

Should scholars be thinking about inter-generational mass torts as a distinct subfield, perhaps not only including Agent Orange, but also DES?  Will increasingly global mass tort litigation enable new claims based on the spraying of Agent Orange decades ago?

BGS 

January 30, 2013 in Environmental Torts, Foreign, Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Kelsey Larson and Carlos Lazatin on Crafting a Defense in Food-Labeling Class Actions

Corporate Counsel has a short piece, Crafting a Defense in Food-Labeling Class Actions, by O'Melveny's Kelsey Larson and Carlos Lazatin.

BGS

January 21, 2013 in Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Class Actions, FDA, Food and Drink, Procedure, Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Skadden Analysis of 2013 Potential Developments in Global Litigation

Skadden has issued a useful analysis of upcoming cases to watch and potential developments for 2013 in class actions and product liability.  The analysis includes contributes by Skadden's John Beisner, J. Russell Jackson, and Jessica Miller.

BGS

January 21, 2013 in Aggregate Litigation Procedures, Class Actions, Preemption, Procedure, Products Liability, Punitive Damages | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stacey Lee on Federal Preemption of Generic-Drug Failure-to-Warn Claims

Professor Stacey Lee (Johns Hopkins, Carey School of Business) has posted to SSRN her article, Pliva v. Mensing: Generic Consumers' Unfortunate Hand, Yale J. Health Pol'y L. & Ethics (forthcoming 2012).  Here's the abstract:

The United States Supreme Court held in PLIVA v. Mensing that federal preemption immunizes generic drug manufacturers from liability for state law failure-to-warn claims. As a result, consumers harmed by a mislabeled generic drug will be unable to bring actions against generic manufacturers under state law. The Court confessed that the resulting federal drug-labeling scheme dealt consumers an “unfortunate hand.” By removing generic manufacturers’ duty to improve the adequacy of their products’ warning labels, the Supreme Court calls into question the safety of generic drugs.

BGS 

October 17, 2012 in Mass Tort Scholarship, Pharmaceuticals - Misc., Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 15, 2012

NY Times Article on Chinese Drywall

On October 12, 2012, the New York Times reported on several decisions holding that Taishan Gypsum, the Chinese manufacturer of questionable drywall, was subject to personal jurisdiction in the United States.  Specifically, Judge Fallon in the federal MDL (located in Louisiana) and Judge Farina in the Miami Dade Circuit Court both ruled that Taishan Gypsum targeted the Florida market by "courting Florida companies, mailing drywall samples to Florida, [and] selling large amounts of drywall to Florida-based companies."

Even Congress has gotten involved and some members have introduced the Contaminated Drywall Safety Act that would insist the Chinese government force manufacturers to acquiesce to American jurisdiction.  So far, however, the bill has been passed only in the House.

The NY Times article is available here.

ECB

October 15, 2012 in Current Affairs, Environmental Torts, Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Economist on Global Fake and Substandard Pharmaceuticals

The Economist discusses the growing global problem of fake and substandard pharmaceuticals in Fake pharmaceuticals: Bad medicine -- The world's drug supply is global.  Governments have failed to keep up.  Absent from The Economist's discussion of government regulators and industry self-policing is the role of private litigation.  Couldn't emerging global tort litigation also deter wrongdoers and be part of the solution?

BGS

October 13, 2012 in Foreign, Pharmaceuticals - Misc., Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Compounding Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, and the Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

A Wall Street Journal article, Pharmacy in Outbreak Acted Like Drug Maker, by Mark Maremont, Jonathan D. Rockoff, and Timony W. Martin explores the history of the companies allegedly involved in the fungal meningitis outbreak.  The article notes that a class action has already been filed in federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota.

BGS

October 12, 2012 in Pharmaceuticals - Misc., Products Liability, Regulation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)